what have we been doing

 

 What have we been doing ??

 

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I’ll try to sum up the time from the F.E.W Conference, to last week in just one sentence. Okay? Here go’s. We met the CLIFTON’S!!!

Satisfied? No? (I didn’t think you would be.)

The relationship between us and the Clifton’s started last year in November during the F.E.W Conference when our family sat across from theirs during the Saturday lunch period, although Daddy doesn’t remember much of this time because his neck was hurting him. (As a result to it getting broken twenty some years ago.) Hence he was not one of the fortunate people to met the Clifton’s last year, though he may remember sitting behind them and having Mr. Clifton (Who we now affectionately call Uncle Tim.) comment on Hope’s big blue eyes and bigger smile. Smile

It was our misfortune to not meet Seth last year, who didn’t attend, but I distinctly remember Uncle Tim placing a cookie under my plate for “a science experiment”, Aunt Anita sharing about Abigail Fleshman’s dying testimony, being impressed and desiring a closer relationship with sweet Esther, and laughing privately at Noah’s bright yellow shoes. (Yes, Noah I put that in for you.)

This year on the other hand though, I met Mr. and Mrs. Clifton at the front registry and Aunt Anita remembered me, and for Uncle Tim all I had to do was tell him about his cookie experiment. Smile Then I asked where Esther was and Uncle Tim said she was socializing in the other room and that they had brought Seth with them,  “the one who ran away.” (You’ll have to ask Seth for the whole amazing story!!) That was the first that we had heard of Seth, although the family had heard the e-mail Uncle Tim sent out when Seth went missing, and we all remember praying for that young man.

I found Esther talking to Jessica Neely and I want to say I probably effectively interrupted that conversation!!! (I’m sorry!!) I had to ask if my letter had gotten through to her, (because I had misplaced her address and then found it again) and she replied that she had but that it came around the same time that their family had the flood. “So you probably thought we had died, because, I thought you mentioned the flood in your letter.” I replied that I had, but I didn’t believe them to be dead, just trying to get things back together again.

We ended up sitting behind the Clifton’s again, (Just like last year!) and I remember asking my sisters if they remembered what Uncle Tim said last year during Mr. Neely’s message when he said ‘I’m going to tell all you young people something that may startle you, Your parents aren’t perfect. “ He had leaned over to Esther and Noah and told them not to listen. (That was just our first taste of how humorous Uncle Tim can be.)

We hadn’t been able to host anyone last year because we had hosted people for Derrick and Jennifer’s wedding, and the house had too much work to be done, plus we had taken apart the rec house in which we had all the bunk beds set up in, so we weren’t able to get everything together for hosting people fast enough. This year though we gave the heads up to Mr. Wilkes that we could host this year and he gave us “Uncle Sledge” and “Auntie Lulu” as our guests. He also said that “ Uncle Sledge would have the whole family in stitches the entire time.” So we were really looking forward to hosting them.

Unfortunately a couple days into preparing for them, we received a gracious e-mail from them explaining that they weren’t going to be able to make it and apologizing for any inconvenience. We were disappointed of course, but such is life. IMG_4874

Sitting behind the Clifton’s again this year afforded us a closer look into their lives, and also a closer relationship with them. It came about in a lot more then I have time to write about, but long story short they canceled their hotel reservations for Saturday night and Esther went home with us on Friday night. That night I shared a very personal story with her and as a result of that we stayed up very late that night. Looking back on that night and how nervous I was in sharing that story, it is a wonder to me that the Lord knitted our hearts together. Esther could have easily said she was tired and didn’t want to listen, but instead she blessed me with her open ears and soft replies. We are so blessed that God had chosen to cross our families paths!

Saturday night was our first family to family one on one and sharing our similarities in very funny and laughable ways. We all claim in jest IMG_4875that it was Aunt Anita’s ringtone that broke the ice, but I really think it was the Clifton’s transparity that stole the show. We could be ourselves with them, and they with us, and that’s rare even in christian circles.

IMG_4877IMG_4870Sunday we weren’t planning on going to church because we were going to be selling dogs and also because we knew the Wilkes were going to be overwhelmed with all the overflow at their house. The Clifton’s were having trouble with their brakes on the van, so Daddy sent Jordon and I to church in the Tahoe while Seth stayed behind to fix the van. We all felt bad for Seth, because we knew how badly he wanted to go, and we couldn’t help noting his face when we drove away. I do beleive he had a good spirit about it though, and we were proud of the way he acted.IMG_4880.

Esther will remember this day as probably the first time she ever saw me cry, and it shows how very close their family had come in the last couple of hours since we had met them. (For those of you wondering, I was crying because my favorite puppy had sold while I was at church.) Winking smile

Daddy got to talk to Seth during the drives to and from the auto shop and he was very impressed with him. Seth shared his story with Daddy and he told us later about it (so we heard it second hand,) but nonetheless we were impressed.

After those of us who went to church got back and the van got fixed, came the time we all were dreading, saying so long. (In our family you never say goodbye.) We took a quick picture, and then sent them on their way. It was during that sad fair-well that we realized we needed to get them back here again!!

It took some convincing but we were successful in getting them back down here for Thanksgiving. Later Uncle Tim said all Daddy had to say was “possibly hunting” and that “sealed the deal.”

The time with them was so refreshing and all of us came away with newly placed stitches, but that was okay because we were with the Clifton’s again!!

I have to place a special thanks though, right here for Aunt Anita because she brought us the most tastiest, mouth watering, chewy, chocolatey cookies that I have not been able to have since our previous pastor’s wife’s cookies. Let me say though that Aunt Anita’s beats her’s by a looooooooooooong shot!!!  (She taught me her recipe guys!!!!)

Well That’s it for now …….  Part two to come soon

Smile

A Job In… West Virginia?

 

I mentioned in an earlier post that we were recently working on a job in WV. Now to some of you who are reading this, you may not know that we currently live near Culpeper, VA, NOT Romney, WV! The first time we got this call I confess I hoped it would be just an estimate, nothing more. We do have jobs like that sometimes! Not because I didn’t like the couple or anything, but because I just didn’t like the idea of a two hour, ten minute drive one way every day.

IMG_0030In the end, that works out to be four hours, (and twenty minutes!) both ways, every day. (Not that the drive wasn’t pretty.)

We got the call. Bid accepted. Kitchen reno. Big Uh-Oh. My mind ran to the idea of waking up at 4:00 every day for two or three weeks. Now, I am no a morning riser by ANY stretch of the imagination. My idea of a good start to a day is at LEAST sleep till 8:00 to 9:00, THEN up and head for the coffee pot. Not wake up at 4:30, realize we’re late and BANG, we’re out the door. (And no, there was no Hazelnut brew, light on the cream to reach that bittersweet taste involved in that car scramble. Not to mention the fact that Chick Fil-A doesn’t open that early! No help there either!)

Long story short, the first words out of mouth were,

“Oh No. What have I gotten myself into?!”

 

Day One:

4:00am EST, Fauquier County, VA.

Brilliant light burns on the outside of my eyelids.

“Come on fella’s, time to get up and go.”

Dad’s voice. My brain spins,

“No, it’s not time already, is it?”

IMG_9965I lay in bed for a minute, staring at the ceiling of my bunk. Was that a dragon shaped pattern on the wood? Boy, I must be losin’ it. I sit up in my bed, bare feet hittin’ the floor.

“Welcome to the next two weeks of great fun. I’m already loving it.” I’m thinking.

Thankfully I had the whole drive up to sleep since I don’t drive,though it was a little difficult to sleep with Max McLean’s deep voice pouring out of the stereo system. Then Tim Gregory next. FIMG_9970irst day went well, I had to admit at the end of the day. I had heard rumors that we would be getting back at 9-10 each night so that was one of the things I was dreading. Instead we ended up leaving by 4-5 and getting home by 6-7 most days. That was a blessing. Still, I wasn’t ready to admit it was fun. It wasn’t, yet.

The days passed, gradually seeming to speed up as I began to enjoy myself more and more. The drive there and back was truly beautiful and the cIMG_9979ouple were very friendly. The experience began to get more and more enjoyable for me. Each days schedule was generally to get up, some days stop at Wal-Mart and/or Lowes to get food and Materials, be at the house by 7:00, work till 4:00, clean up, be on the road within the hour, back by around 6:30, wash up, take care of the next days load of sandwiches, take care of anything else, (give myself some extra Audiobooks or Music to listen to on the job.) bed and repeat the next day. (Wal-Mart sells Starbucks iced coffee too,IMG_0029 in multiple flavors! Still don’t beat a good Chicken Biscuit and CFA Iced coffee though.) In the end, I really enjoyed the whole experience, all things considered. The place looked great once we finished, (Not just because of what we did, they also had new appliances set in, countertops redone and the cabinets were refinished.) We did the walls and ceiling, which were built medieval style. Literally. These walls weren’t your typical 16 inches apart based on tIMG_0028he center of the board. No, these walls were built with whatever wood the builder literally could have found in his yard. Need to run a wire? No problem. He sliced grooves into the drywall and tacked his wire inside the groove, leaving the wire exposed. Well, how did that pass inspection you’d ask. Easy. The owners say there are no codes in WV! We shimmed and worked on the existing walls till we were sure it was good for drywall then drywalled that. AlsoIMG_0038, the owners had what I like to refer to as a commercial building ceiling, in other words, a drop ceiling with pop tiles. The customer removed the old ceiling and we went ahead and refinished that. By the time we and the other contractors were done, it was really nice.

 

I guess I sort of wrote all that to not only bring you all who read our site anymore and haven’t given up on us up to date and also, there is a bright side to everything we experience. We just gotta have the eyes to see it and recognize it for what it really is.

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